1111 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Reviewed by: Billy Wisdom
Our love for Penthouse Roof Top Dining has, on occasion, meant sacrifice of quality and quantity. Such was the case recently while dining at Juvia Restaurant, Penthouse.We had reserved a table for six almost a month in advance, requesting a quiet corner table in order to discretely make tasting notes and concentrate on the review at hand.
Finally, the anxiously awaited moment arrived. Accompanied by close dining aficionado friends, we were immediately disappointed with our table located in a noisy section close to the bar. Despite our prompt arrival and face to face reminder of our table request, our quiet corner request was ignored. Within the first ten minutes our server asked if we were ready to order appetizers twice, leaving us with the feeling of being rushed. Determined to have a nice evening we brushed this aside and delved into some appetizers.
Hamachi Espuma with Micro Cilantro: The Fresh Hamachi had an unexpected spicy flavor emanating from the micro shoots of Cilantro. This was a superb dish, despite the small portion. Unfortunately, not everyone at the table could sample this appetizer.
Tuna Poke with Sesame Chili, Hijiki, Red Onion and Scallions: Like the Hamachi, this appetizer was also superb but, in my opinion, was too small of a portion.
Salmon Nashi, accompanied by Truffle Oil, Dry Miso and Micro Arugula: Unfortunately, the Arugula’s bitterness overpowered the taste of the “too chilled” Salmon.
Ceviche Mix consisting of Fluke, Octopus, Red Onion and Crispy Sweet Potato: While all the fish was definitely sashimi grade, the sweet potato was a mismatch in this dish.
Beef Carpaccio with Daikon, Shiso, Wasabi Oil and Capers: This dish was too salty and didn’t need the addition of capers, which left us with cotton mouth and wondering ‘Where’s the Beef Flavor?
Still hungry after the small portioned appetizers, which as stated earlier, were not big enough for all six of us to sample, we ordered more starters. This round included Tuna Otoro with Red Onion Salsa and Micro Shiso: Otoro is the lowest section of the tuna belly (toro) and is highest in fat content. The small portion we were served did not have any visible marbling and was not light enough in color, causing us to conclude with certainty that this was just sushi grade tuna, not Tuna Toro. It was certainly not Tuna Otoro. To top it off, the $34.00 charge for this minuscule appetizer left us feeling cheated.
The Butter Poached King Crab Leg with a microscopic amount of Osetra Caviar, finished with Mustard Vinaigrette was excellent. The exceptional quality of this crab meat was evident.
The Hawaiian Hearts of Palm Salad with Green Mango, Green Papaya and Cucumber may have been the best salad of this kind I have ever tasted, and left me tempted to order another one.
The friendly service received from Sommelier Alan Feldman the entire night was very good. Our friend Andrew Lampasone who owns the wine boutique Wine Watch, commonly referred to as The Wine Doctor, had carefully picked a bottle of 2009 Ladoucette Les Deux Tours 2009 Sauvignon Blanc that paired very well with all the appetizers ordered.
The entrée highlight was Korean Marinated Short Ribs from the Binchotan Grill. Although they could have been prepared with more seasoning, these short ribs fell off the bone and were quite good. The Veal Chop entree was of a high quality with very good flavor, but was a bit tough to chew. The remaining entrees were just average and not worth mentioning here.
We ordered six different desserts, which when served, were accompanied by the check which had not been requested by anyone at our table. When asked, the server replied that she had been instructed by her manager to deliver the check and demand that it be paid immediately as the table was needed for another party. This treatment was particularly insulting given our $250.00 per person bill.
Management’s extraordinarily bad handling of our table left us with the impression that over-booking of tables is a regular occurrence at Juvia. Rather than moving our table to the bar, the manager’s bad manners clearly displayed his lack of experience and professionalism.
Caveat: If you are looking for that “special occasion” or “special date night”, I would think twice about going to Juvia. We rate the food 3 Stars (1/2 star deducted for tiny portions) and the service 2 Stars. If we rated management’s attitude, it would have received a minus 1 star.
Note: Two of these pictures courtesy of Juvia’s Facebook page…